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Luxury Watches

by SCMP

Luxury Watches

Different strokes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 November, 2011, 12:00am

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Michael Jordan is by common agreement the greatest basketball player ever. Michael Jordan the baseball player, on the other hand; well, if we're going to be charitable we could say he didn't quite hit the same heights. As for Michael Jordan the actor, let's not mince our words, he just plain sucked. It's not often you find a person who can excel at a variety of pursuits and the same is true for the huge number of manufacturers who suddenly decide to become watchmakers. However, there are a few companies that manage to pull it off and this week we look at a select group of multitaskers who put Michael Jordan to shame.

Victorinox is synonymous with Swiss Army knives. Indeed, it is the only brand allowed to use the term as it owns former rival knifemaker Wenger. Victorinox has taken its strong brand name and heritage and moved into other product areas, achieving great success in luggage manufacturing, in particular. Being a Swiss company, it was perhaps inevitable Victorinox would turn its hand to watchmaking and for this year the company has re-released its very first watch, the Victorinox Original.

Initially released in 1989, the Original (above) is a sturdy watch. The 40mm case is relatively small by today's standards but the design and nylon fibre construction still look manly and chunky. The face features three oversized numerals and dashes of luminescence, making it easy to read on the move and in the dark. The standout feature though is the Nato-style strap, worn by British servicemen in the 1930s. The Victorinox Original costs HK$2,690 and comes in four colours: black, khaki green, beige and grey.

German industrial design company Botta has won awards for its bespoke office gadgets and wall clocks and in recent years it has gained as much attention for its watches. The Botta Uno 24 (bottom left) is a one-handed watch with a face that features all 24 hours of the day. Despite the lack of a minute hand, after a short period of familiarisation, the wearer can guesstimate the time to within five minutes, so this isn't the watch for people looking to be punctual. The design is clean and ultra modern and the 40mm case is made of satisfying steel. The killer feature of the Uno 24, though, is the day-night split of the watch, with the top half signifying daytime and the bottom nighttime. In essence, this means the single hand tracks the sun as it makes its solitary revolution each day. The Botta Uno 24 is available with a black or white dial, and prices vary on strap choice, with the leather version costing HK$3,200 and the all-steel timepiece priced at HK$3,850.

Last but not least is everyone's favourite penmaker, Montblanc. The company is relatively new to the watch game but that hasn't stopped it aggressively marketing its timepieces and signing up actor Nicolas Cage as spokesman. Montblanc's winning formula can be seen in the TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph Titanium (below right), which is limited to 300 pieces and priced at an attractive HK$97,430. The TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph is a real man's watch, the dial is a riot of subdials and numerals which give it a sporty edge. The 43mm case, made of glorious titanium, is pleasingly hefty and just about manages to contain all the features including the chronograph and a GMT dial for second time zones. The TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph also has a huge 72-hour power reserve and comes with a lovely alligator leather strap.